Co-op preschool benefits and drawbacks

Learn about: Co-op preschool benefits and drawbacks from Tom Hobson,...
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Co-op preschool benefits and drawbacks

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I have been in a cooperative preschool since I was a parent 13 years ago in a cooperative preschool. I started as a parent and now I have been a teacher for the last decade. What I really loved as a parent in a cooperative preschool was that I got to be there in the classroom with my child seeing how she learns and really understanding how she learns in the context of others. We are all different sometimes when we are at home versus when we are in a group of other people, and it was great for me as a parent to see what´s happening and what teachers are doing in the classroom. The other thing I really liked and I think parents really appreciate about a cooperative is by being in the classroom, you get to see this broad range of what is normal. I think parents are often very nervous, especially first time parents. Is my kid normal? How do they stack up against the other kids? And you get a chance to see that they are all geniuses and they also have things they still need to work on. The other thing that I really liked about it and many parents appreciate is that every school becomes a community of children. In a cooperative, it becomes a community of families, which I think is really natural way for children to learn about the world, especially in their early years. And these families, I just ran into a parent just a couple days ago whose daughter is now in 6th grade and she still gets together with her co-op friends with their families with their children and they are still educating their children informally together out of the basis of this cooperative environment that they started in. I think the other thing that parents really appreciate is that cooperative preschools are much less expensive than traditional schools. I am the only paid employee in the school and the parents also take on the roles and the jobs of everything from administrative work to bookkeeping to janitorial to maintenance and everything else that makes a school operate. So we don´t have all the salaries to pay because the parents are doing it out of their sense of ownership of the school because truly the parents who enroll their children in our school are the owners of our school. The drawback I think that people often talk about is that the parents. I often say I teach privileged children and not in the sense of money but in the sense that parents must have the time to come and work in the classroom as an assistant teacher with me at least one day a week and so some parents find that a challenge to do.

Learn about: Co-op preschool benefits and drawbacks from Tom Hobson,...

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Tom Hobson

Co-Op Preschool Teacher

Tom is a preschool teacher, blogger, artist, and author. For the past 10 years, he’s worked for the Woodland Park Cooperative preschools, teaching two to five year olds in Seattle, Washington where he lives with his wife and daughter. His award-winning blog, “Teacher Tom,” has earned him an international following as a leading proponent of a progressive, play-based curriculum and the cooperative model of early childhood education, as well as a fierce advocate for public policies that support the whole child and the teaching of democratic values to even our youngest citizens. His blog, like his classroom, is a place of exploration of the physical, social, political, emotional, and even spiritual world. It’s a place of experimentation, where the adults learn every bit as much as the children.

Tom is the author of A Parent’s Guide To Seattle, a regular speaker on early childhood education, a board member of the Fremont Arts Council, and a founding member of the Superhuggers performance art ensemble.

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